Parsnips aplenty

Fresh raw heirloom parsnips

ROASTED, pureed, used in salads and in soups, parsnips are a versatile vegie with large creamy, tender sweet flavoured roots that are ideal for starting in late summer. Sowing parsnip seeds direct where they are to grow is the best way to create your parsnip patch, as they resent being transplanted.

Here are some tips to get the best parsnip results:

Parsnips prefer a relatively poor soil and do well if they follow a hungry summer crop like corn.

As the roots can grow quite deep, it’s important that the top 20cm of soil be soft and free from clumps, otherwise the parsnips may turn out crooked. So, work the soil well with a garden fork before sowing.

Sow the seed 6mm deep and then it’s crucial to keep the area moist until the seeds germinate and begin to establish. Lack of moisture, even for a short time, can mean the end for the germinating seeds. To help keep the soil moist, in addition to regular watering you can cover the area with shade cloth, damp hessian or cardboard. You must check under the cover every day and as soon as the first few seedlings emerge, remove the cover. Seeds may take up to 4 weeks to germinate, so be patient!

Seedlings will need to be thinned out when they’re 4–5 weeks old, to give all the plants enough room to grow. Leave around 7–10cm between each parsnip.

Side dress parsnips with Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food every 6 weeks to provide gentle, organic slow release nutrients.

Parsnips are slow growing and can take up to 20 weeks to mature, but sowing in February means you can be enjoying delicious home grown roasted parsnips for “Christmas” in July.

Late Summer Tomato Care

The older tomato plants get, the more likely it is that they will start to suffer from foliar diseases such as leaf spots and blights. Left untreated, diseases can weaken plants and cause significant damage. While plants are still laden with ripening fruit, diseases should be controlled to keep plants healthy and promote a good harvest. Yates® Liquid Copper Fungicide is a handy, broad spectrum fungicide that will help control tomato diseases such as leaf spots and blights. For best disease control, spray both the upper and lower surfaces of leaves.

Whitefly are tiny tap sucking insects that congregate in large numbers underneath tomato foliage and fly up into a cloud when disturbed. Due to their large numbers, whitefly can quickly deplete tomato plants, reducing vigour and tomato yields. Whitefly can be controlled with Yates® Nature’s Way® Natrasoap Vegie Insect Gun, which is an insecticidal soap. The key to effective whitefly control is persistence and a degree of stealth! Minimise disturbing the whiteflies before spraying and spray both sides of foliage every 5–7 days. Spraying underneath leaves is important as that is where whiteflies predominantly hide.

Keeping soil moist during summer can be a challenge, but it’s especially important for tomatoes. Tomatoes are prone to a disease called blossom end rot, which causes a sunken, decaying area on the end of the fruit. Although it is a disease, it’s caused by lack of access to regular water and calcium. Two ways to help prevent tomato blossom end rot are to keep soil consistently moist during the growing season and apply some Yates® Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite to the soil. It is a concentrated source of calcium which can help reduce the chances of blossom end rot. Don’t be put off by the product name – it’s fine for tomatoes!

The Summer Veggie Patch

Keep the summer veggie patch wonderfully productive into Autumn by sowing seed now of some tasty leafy veggies!

If you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious Asian crunchy noodle salad then you’ll be familiar with Chinese Cabbage (also called wombok), which forms the crisp leafy basis for the salad. Yates® Chinese Cabbage is fast growing, taking only 8–10 weeks to mature. Seeds can be sown directly into a sunny garden bed.

The veggie patch doesn’t need to be a sea of green. Yates® Silverbeet Ruby Chard produces striking red coloured stems together with nutritious leaves that are great for salads and stir fries. Ruby Chard makes a very hardy, attractive and tasty addition to the veggie patch.

In temperate zones, sow some Yates® Celery Green Crunch seed. This variety has long, crisp, stringless stalks which can be harvested as needed. Celery does take a while to mature (20 – 22 weeks), so get sowing now!

Beans are great for you and great for the soil! If you live in a temperate area, there’s still time to sow beans and if you’re in a cool climate and have a warm, sheltered spot, you might still be able to squeeze in a sowing in early February. Yates® Dwarf Beans Chef’s Choice is one of the most prolific stringless varieties around, producing loads of medium size, straight round beans. The trick with bean seeds is to sow them into damp soil, then don’t water again for a few days. Bean seeds can rot if they’re kept too moist. Chef’s Choice can also be sown into containers so are a great option if you don’t have a veggie patch.

When the seedlings appear they can be fed each week with Yates® Thrive® Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which is enriched with potassium to encourage lots of beans.

Organic Gardening

February’s heat can lead to stressed plants, so it’s a good idea to give the garden a little extra help this month. Yates® Thrive® Natural Seaweed is a source of natural plant growth regulators which can promote a stronger root system.

Stronger roots are better able to access deeper soil which is more moist and cool, which is beneficial during February’s hot weather. Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed also aids recovery from stress conditions such as drought. It’s easy to apply: mix 2 capfuls into a 9L watering can or sprayer and apply over leaves and soil around the based of the plant.

Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed contains 100% cold composted seaweed. It’s created using a gentle extraction method that preserves more of the delicate plant growth boosting compounds in seaweed.

ROASTED, pureed, used in salads and in soups, parsnips are a versatile vegie with large creamy, tender sweet flavoured roots that are ideal for starting in late summer. Sowing parsnip seeds direct where they are to grow is the best way to create your parsnip patch, as they resent being transplanted.

Here are some tips to get the best parsnip results:

Parsnips prefer a relatively poor soil and do well if they follow a hungry summer crop like corn.

As the roots can grow quite deep, it’s important that the top 20cm of soil be soft and free from clumps, otherwise the parsnips may turn out crooked. So, work the soil well with a garden fork before sowing.

Sow the seed 6mm deep and then it’s crucial to keep the area moist until the seeds germinate and begin to establish. Lack of moisture, even for a short time, can mean the end for the germinating seeds. To help keep the soil moist, in addition to regular watering you can cover the area with shade cloth, damp hessian or cardboard. You must check under the cover every day and as soon as the first few seedlings emerge, remove the cover. Seeds may take up to 4 weeks to germinate, so be patient!

Seedlings will need to be thinned out when they’re 4–5 weeks old, to give all the plants enough room to grow. Leave around 7–10cm between each parsnip.

Side dress parsnips with Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food every 6 weeks to provide gentle, organic slow release nutrients.

Parsnips are slow growing and can take up to 20 weeks to mature, but sowing in February means you can be enjoying delicious home grown roasted parsnips for “Christmas” in July.

Late Summer Tomato Care

The older tomato plants get, the more likely it is that they will start to suffer from foliar diseases such as leaf spots and blights. Left untreated, diseases can weaken plants and cause significant damage. While plants are still laden with ripening fruit, diseases should be controlled to keep plants healthy and promote a good harvest. Yates® Liquid Copper Fungicide is a handy, broad spectrum fungicide that will help control tomato diseases such as leaf spots and blights. For best disease control, spray both the upper and lower surfaces of leaves.

Whitefly are tiny tap sucking insects that congregate in large numbers underneath tomato foliage and fly up into a cloud when disturbed. Due to their large numbers, whitefly can quickly deplete tomato plants, reducing vigour and tomato yields. Whitefly can be controlled with Yates® Nature’s Way® Natrasoap Vegie Insect Gun, which is an insecticidal soap. The key to effective whitefly control is persistence and a degree of stealth! Minimise disturbing the whiteflies before spraying and spray both sides of foliage every 5–7 days. Spraying underneath leaves is important as that is where whiteflies predominantly hide.

Keeping soil moist during summer can be a challenge, but it’s especially important for tomatoes. Tomatoes are prone to a disease called blossom end rot, which causes a sunken, decaying area on the end of the fruit. Although it is a disease, it’s caused by lack of access to regular water and calcium. Two ways to help prevent tomato blossom end rot are to keep soil consistently moist during the growing season and apply some Yates® Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite to the soil. It is a concentrated source of calcium which can help reduce the chances of blossom end rot. Don’t be put off by the product name – it’s fine for tomatoes!

The Summer Veggie Patch

Keep the summer veggie patch wonderfully productive into Autumn by sowing seed now of some tasty leafy veggies!

If you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious Asian crunchy noodle salad then you’ll be familiar with Chinese Cabbage (also called wombok), which forms the crisp leafy basis for the salad. Yates® Chinese Cabbage is fast growing, taking only 8–10 weeks to mature. Seeds can be sown directly into a sunny garden bed.

The veggie patch doesn’t need to be a sea of green. Yates® Silverbeet Ruby Chard produces striking red coloured stems together with nutritious leaves that are great for salads and stir fries. Ruby Chard makes a very hardy, attractive and tasty addition to the veggie patch.

In temperate zones, sow some Yates® Celery Green Crunch seed. This variety has long, crisp, stringless stalks which can be harvested as needed. Celery does take a while to mature (20 – 22 weeks), so get sowing now!

Beans are great for you and great for the soil! If you live in a temperate area, there’s still time to sow beans and if you’re in a cool climate and have a warm, sheltered spot, you might still be able to squeeze in a sowing in early February. Yates® Dwarf Beans Chef’s Choice is one of the most prolific stringless varieties around, producing loads of medium size, straight round beans. The trick with bean seeds is to sow them into damp soil, then don’t water again for a few days. Bean seeds can rot if they’re kept too moist. Chef’s Choice can also be sown into containers so are a great option if you don’t have a veggie patch.

When the seedlings appear they can be fed each week with Yates® Thrive® Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which is enriched with potassium to encourage lots of beans.

Organic Gardening

February’s heat can lead to stressed plants, so it’s a good idea to give the garden a little extra help this month. Yates® Thrive® Natural Seaweed is a source of natural plant growth regulators which can promote a stronger root system.

Stronger roots are better able to access deeper soil which is more moist and cool, which is beneficial during February’s hot weather. Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed also aids recovery from stress conditions such as drought. It’s easy to apply: mix 2 capfuls into a 9L watering can or sprayer and apply over leaves and soil around the based of the plant.

Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed contains 100% cold composted seaweed. It’s created using a gentle extraction method that preserves more of the delicate plant growth boosting compounds in seaweed.

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